Mark Hughes: “The Spa TD could well help Mercedes reduce its deficit”

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Sky Sports’ Mark Hughes says the FIA’s ‘anti-porpoising’ technical directive, which will start getting enforced at Spa, could help Mercedes get closer to Ferrari and Red Bull.

In his latest Sky Sports F1 column, Mark Hughes took a look at how the FIA’s ‘anti-porpoising’ technical directive could affect the balance of power between the top teams.

“With quite a different upper body aero concept to Red Bull and Ferrari, Mercedes’ greater area of exposed floor was effectively a cantilever, making it much more difficult to control,” Hughes wrote.

“Later, limitations in the mechanical aspects of the suspension became apparent in controlling the car’s ride.

“It then became clear that Ferrari and Red Bull had interpreted the regulations concerning the mounting of the underfloor plank differently and were able to allow the plank to sink further into the floor as it touched the ground, giving a cushioning effect to the ride.

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“From Spa this weekend, that interpretation will no longer be considered valid.

“If, as is believed by other teams, that mounting method would make a 5-6mm lower rear ride height feasible, it would potentially be worth around 0.2-0.3s of lap time.

“The Mercedes, even though it set pole in Hungary due to a favourable set of circumstances (no healthy Red Bulls in Q3, Ferrari way out of the tyre temperature window), was still around 0.5s off the ultimate pace.

“So the Spa TD could well help Mercedes reduce its deficit to the front, but to take on Ferrari and Red Bull on equal terms is likely going to require more development,” the Briton concluded.

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